Kristen Kelsick, Connor Wolfe, Hannah Carter, Mrs. Lowman and Mr. Winebrenner were leading the LUMC Nicaragua mission team tonight.
Our devotion for today helped us to explore the idea of being joyful versus being negative. We all know that it’s easy to get down when things get hard or nothing seems to be going our way. After reading the story in John 4: 4-29, we concluded that it’s important for us to do our best to be positive and look for the joy in all things, just as the Samaritan woman did in this passage. As we reflected on our trip this week, we were able to find many different things that happened that filled us with joy: the projects that we worked on, the people that we met, the old and new friends that we spent time with and the opportunities that we had to serve others. We thank The Lord for the many blessings that we experienced during our visit to Nicaragua. Many of us felt that this trip was part of The Lord’s plan to change our lives!
Today was a particularly exciting day…. saying goodbye to our friends at El Ayudante, an exciting adventure on the zip line, lunch at the mall in Managua and a trip to the chaotic market to buy treasures and souvenirs for the people who we want to thank. Read on to find out more….
Kristen: It has never been easy saying goodbye to the El Ayudante staff as they have become such family to us. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to build amazing relationships with the translators, cooks, cleaning ladies, construction workers and the groundskeepers. Over the last three years, I have had an opportunity to grow a special bond with the bus drivers. Having the chance to learn about their lives outside of work through laughs and poor Spanish/English translating, has made us to become more like family to one another. The relationships we have make our trips to Nicaragua full. Although it was tough saying goodbye, we left promising we will be back next year.
Hannah: The zip line started off with eagerness to sign in and get our gear on. There was some hesitation but in the end, almost everyone went through the zip line. The first leg of the zip line was a little scary at the beginning because the lighter people had to get a push to get them started. Some people like Hunter, Michael and I didn’t make it all the way to the end, so we had to be pulled in. The second leg was really hard for me because we had to keep a light grip on the line since it was a shorter distance. Again, I didn’t make it all the way to the end. The third leg was the best because some people did superman across the lake. Superman is when you have your body laid out flat facing the ground. When they asked Tamara (one of our translators) if she was ready, she kept saying “NO! NO!” but they said “too bad,” and pushed her off. We then made the journey back to the top of the hill and headed back to the bus.
Conner: After eating lunch we went to a local market to do some souvenir shopping. The market was very busy and a little overwhelming for some of us. From the moment we stepped off the bus until we had pulled out of the parking lot, dozens of children surrounded us trying to sell us various crafts and souvenirs. During the hour that we shopped we were able to buy gifts for friends as well as keepsakes to bring home, all of which were very inexpensive. Kristen was able to buy a hammock for just five dollars that was transferred through the window as we were pulling away.
Mark and Chris: Every day that we have been in Nicaragua has truly been a blessing. One of the best parts of this trip has been our devotional time at the end of the day. Marlene found the perfect reflection journal for us that gave us a chance to think about things that had happened each day and things that we were thankful for and were able to praise God for. This journal also gave us an opportunity to think about the choices that we were making each day. Do we want to be conceited or humble? Does God want us to show others greed or generosity? Is it more important to serve others or ourselves? Each day, a different group of people led the devotional time, including daily prayers throughout the day. The kids and adults alike had a turn to lead our worship time and it was wonderful to find out what everyone was thinking about the experiences that we encountered during the day. We had many good discussions about the Bible passages that we were reading and how they applied to our own individual lives. We can all agree that this time spent together was a perfect way to end the day and help us to grow closer as a team. It has been a blessing to get to know other members of our church family better. We are all thankful to the congregation of LUMC for supporting us in this mission as we serve and share God’s love to those we meet in Nicaragua. This Sunday, we hope that you’ll be able to join us at either the 8:45 or 11:00 service to hear more about things we did this week and the ways that they helped us to grow closer to The Lord. See you then!